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Old 04-11-2006, 01:53 PM   #1
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Fishless cycle question

I started a fishless cycle this weekend and I think I added too much ammonia. I've been testing everyday and it reads off the charts , +8.0 or so. I'm using the aquarium pharm master kit. My question is, will it still be ok? I assume the bacteria will come and just eat it but i'd like to be sure. Thanks for any input.

P.S. What is a python? I keep seeing it in a lot of post.
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Old 04-11-2006, 01:56 PM   #2
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I would do a 50 water change and reduce it to 4ppm. Your cycle will go on forever at that ammonia level. The nitrite eating bacteria won't like that much ammonia either.
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Old 04-11-2006, 02:23 PM   #3
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I agree with Rich. Get the level down. Having a level that high will cause a stall in the cycle.
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:01 AM   #4
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And to answer the part of the Pythom question. Its a big long hose, with a valve at one end and an adapter at the other, just like the gravel vacums thingys you see at your Local Fish Store. Yets this one is a thousand times better! Heck its GREEEEAT!
It will save you lots of wet headackes! Not on the cheap side, but worth every penny...and I speak from personal experience!.

Hope your fish are ok, and that your cycle is close or already done.

Good luck!
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Old 04-12-2006, 01:10 PM   #5
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Welcome! I don't see any tank details for you, so if you could post them that would be great. I also agree to do a 50% PWC and retest. The AP kit is not accurate over ~4ppm IMO, and you might have WAY more than 8ppm and never know it. Since you probably just started the cycle you won't harm anything by doing a water change. If the levels are still higher than 4ppm, do another 50% water change. You really want to be able to monitor the ammonia uptake, both from a scientific standpoint (knowing where you are in the cycle), and just as important (or moreso ) for your sanity. There is nothing worse than testing every day or so and seeing no change!

When I did my fishless cycle I had built up a lot of nitrIte from all the ammonia that was converted. I watched and waited for many days and never saw the nitrIte level go down. Turns out, I had probably 15-20ppm of nitrIte and it was causing the cycle to slow down, and also made it nearly impossible to see a difference. By doing the water changes I got the level of nitrIte's back down to readable levels and less than 3 days later my cycle was finished. If I had just left the nitrItes high, I might have gone on for another week or so before the nitrIte level ever came down to where I could see it (if ever).

As for the python question, its already been answered by others in this thread. I'll just say that if you have a small tank (20gallon or less) it might be more of a headache than its worth. Over that size and it really REALLY starts to make a huge difference when water changes are needed.
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Old 04-12-2006, 07:24 PM   #6
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Ahhh, the eternal question of what level of ammonia to use! Just a few days ago I re-read one of my sources on nitrosomonas bacteria. The web page below states that the fastes re-activation of nitrosomonas is at 200 ppm!

http://article.dphnet.com/cat-01/naturewonders3.shtml

So, 8 ppm is not too much. However, the more ammonia you put in, the longer it takes to go to zero, and the higher the nitrite spike. The higher the nitrite spike, the longer that phase takes too. 5 ppm has become a defacto standard, because others have used it. It can be done with less than 0.25 ppm of ammonia (takes 42 days). So, anywhere between 0.25 and 5 ppm will work. More than 5ppm will not inhibit the nitrosomonas bacteria, I haven't read anything about the effects of ammonia levels on nitrobacter species. Perhaps fears of high ammonia levels stalling the cycle are based on the fact that more ammonia input means a longer cycle, even though the bacteria are possibly unaffected.

The question of what ammonia level produces the fastest cycle time is, as of yet, unanswered.
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:44 PM   #7
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Thanks for input ppl.
I have a 30 gallon tank and still trying to get this fishless cycle to work. I did a 60% change and then a 35 - 40% change and my ammonia reading is still around 8 ppm. Probably a bit lower but definatly not 4. It's getting kinda annoying to try to fix this. At this point do you think i can leave it? or should i start over? Also I have no measurable nitrite. How long should this take to register some? Its been about a week. And another thing, in all this I tested my tap water. It had between 1 and 2 ppm, prob closer to 1, of ammonia. Does that mean i need some sort of ammonia nutrilizer when i change the water when i accually have fish in there? and i guess also, is that bad for me to drink?, fyi- it's city water, not well water.

Sorry for all the questions, any thoughts would be appreciated
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:00 PM   #8
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Ammonia phase of a cycle in an unseeded tank typically lasts 2 weeks, perhaps longer. Bacteria can be effected by pH (less than 6.5 bad, less than 7 takes longer) and temp (78 to 85 is fine).

The fact that your tap water tests positive for ammonia is almost certain that you have chloramines in your water. That means you will need a good dechlorinator for when you have fish and do water changes. You also need dechlor now, for the cycle. The good news is that your tap water, when treated with dechlor, gives you 1 ppm of ammonia to start your cycle. The bad news is that your tap water will be an ammonia burden on your tank every water change. Chloramines stink.

How much ammonia did you put in? you need 0.34 ml of a 10% solution to achieve 1ppm in 10 gals. so, for a 30 gal tank, you need 1 ml of a 10% solution for 1 ppm. 4 ml gets you 4ppm. easy to remember, each ml gets you about 1ppm. A 10% solution from ace hardware will burn your eys, nose and any other membrane you get close to it. If you put way more in than 4 ml, this could explain why your efforts to dilute it are failing to get it down. A tsp is 5 ml, I think.
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Old 04-14-2006, 10:38 PM   #9
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are you guys getting just over the counter ammonia at hardware stores because i didnt see any ammonia products at the lfs other than products to reduce ammonia. so were to get ammonia to do a fishless cycle.
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Old 04-14-2006, 10:45 PM   #10
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Ace Hardware sells a 10% janitorial strength ammonia. It has no soap or any other additives. That is what you want.
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Old 04-14-2006, 11:19 PM   #11
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Sith -

There's not enough money in selling newbies a bottle of ammonia for $1.69 and a $20 test kit, and telling them to come back in a month or so for fish. Most will decide right then and there not to buy the tank. Also, you can cycle with fish, and do it safely, but it requires very few fish and lots of time and patience. LFS's don't sell time and patience. They sell fish, and products to treat the tank, and more fish. Each trip to the LFS to buy a fish increases the chance you will buy something else.

That may seem a bit harsh, but there is much truth in it. So yeah, those of us with experience and foreknowledge do it a bit differently. And the ACe hardware solution is the only source I found with no detergents or perfumes.
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